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Tiempo Libre

Columbus Alive

Tiempo Libre at the Lincoln Theatre

Columbus Alive

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

by Heather Gross

No! Sexier! It needs to be sexier!" my Cuban drum teacher in college would yell over our subpar conga-playing. That's the thing about Latin music - it's sexy, not just because it's exotic, but because the layered rhythms create the undeniable need to move your hips.

It's too bad there won't be enough room for everyone in the audience to dance during Cuban band Tiempo Libre's performance Friday at Lincoln Theatre. The band always enjoys seeing people salsa or cha cha cha in the aisles, even if they don't know the proper footwork.

"Sometimes you see people dancing fantastically," said Jorge Gomez, the group's musical director and keyboardist. "Sometimes you see people learning how to dance. The more important thing is that they feel the same energy that we are looking for. Enjoy the night. Move your body. No inhibitions - just feel the music."

Tiempo Libre, which has previously earned three Grammy nominations, is famous for playing timba, a modern, jazzy take on salsa. The band's seven musicians - all in their 20s and early 30s - grew up in Cuba, where they studied at a classical music conservatory.

"That's the story of our life in Cuba: by day, going to school playing classical music; by night, in the house, playing guaguanco, salsa, meringue," Gomez said.

They relocated to Miami so that they could collaborate with musicians from different backgrounds and share Cuban music with America.

"We were looking for a new opportunity. In Cuba we only have Cuban people. Here in Miami we have friends from Brazil, Argentina, Africa, Russia. We share our culture with them, and them us," Gomez said. "We are the ambassadors of the Cuban music."

read the full article: Columbus Alive